Global Impact Challenges

Exceptional ideas, extraordinary people

Are you an experienced entrepreneur with an idea that can improve the lives of a billion people using exponential technology?

Do you have a proven track record of success in bringing a moonshot innovation from idea to reality? Or, are you a technical or problem space expert who is eager to build a company alongside a seasoned entrepreneur? If so, we're looking for you! 

Apply now to compete in SingularityU Global Impact Challenges (GIC) and you could win a coveted spot in the Global Solutions Program (GSP).

About Global Impact Challenges

Global Impact Challenges (GICs) are annual competitions held in partnership with sponsor organizations worldwide and organized by geography and theme. These challenges are an open call to entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists, and engineers with the most innovative ideas for moonshot innovations and startups that can positively impact a billion people in 10 years. The winner of each challenge receives a full sponsorship to attend our transformational Global Solutions Program held on the SU campus at NASA Ames Research Center.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements*:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must be fluent in spoken and written English
  • Must be able to attend the entire Global Solutions Program

New for 2017

This year, for the first time, we are ideally looking for applicants who have the skills and passion to develop a moonshot idea and launch a startup company that addresses climate change, although we will also accept outstanding applicants who have other ideas of expertise or choose to innovate in other fields.

Climate change is a broad focus area that includes many areas ripe for innovation. For example, if you're developing sustainable food sources or alternative energy sources, developing governance models for policy, or focused on issues such as biodiversity or water access, you already fall within the climate change theme and should definitely apply.

Again, we welcome entrepreneurs, technologists, scientists, and other experts from all disciplines to apply, and we will not require participants to innovate in the climate change space.

We encourage people from all professional backgrounds with a proven track record to apply, but you’re an ideal candidate if:

  • Are an experienced entrepreneur who has already turned over at least one successful company, and are ready to do it again in the impact space 
  • Are an accomplished technologist, scientist, or change agent and are recognized as a thought leader in your chosen field(s)
  • Have a background in or a passion for addressing climate change
  • Have an innovative solution to an urgent global challenge—ideally, but not limited to, climate change—that leverages exponential technologies and can positively impact a billion people within 10 years 
  • Are prepared to commit to launching a startup around your innovation and remaining attached to that venture, wherever the journey may lead post-GSP, based on your GSP team project

* For specific eligibility requirements, see individual challenge pages. All applicants to any GIC (whether related to climate change or not) will be considered, regardless of the overall climate change theme for GSP.

Ready to enter? Find a challenge.

“Through the experience, knowledge and network acquired at GSP, I expect to push the project much further.”

— Pablo Orduña

2016 GIC Winner

2017 Challenges

SingularityU Canada
Global Impact Challenge

Applications are open

Enter Now

SingularityU Costa Rica
Global Impact Challenge

Applications are open

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SingularityU Denmark
Global Impact Challenge

Applications are open

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Food in Emergencies, a Global Impact Challenge

Applications are open

Enter now

SingularityU Japan
Global Impact Challenge

Applications are open

Enter now

SingularityU Norway
Global Impact Challenge

Applications are open

Enter Now

SingularityU Peru
Global Impact Challenge

Applications are open

Enter Now

SingularityU Spain
Global Impact Challenge

Applications are open

Enter Now

“Singularity University is a place that makes you discover your passions and empower you to change the world.”

— Mariana Vasconcelos

Brazil, 2015 GIC Winner

Past Challenges

Here are some of the challenges we've held in the past.

2016 Competitions

View all

SingularityU 92Y

USA | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU Argentina

Argentina | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU Central & Eastern Europe

Europe | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU Chile

Chile | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU Denmark

Denmark | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU Finland

Finland | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU France

France | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU Italy

Italy | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU Mexico

Mexico | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU Norway

Norway | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU Peru

Peru | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU South Africa

South Africa | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU Spain

Spain | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU The Netherlands

The Netherlands | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

SingularityU University of Georgia

USA | Global Impact Challenge

Competition closed

Become a GIC Sponsor

Sponsoring a GIC signals to the world that your organization is committed to finding innovative solutions to humanity's most urgent problems and to investing in talented change agents who are working tirelessly to bring these innovations to life in every corner of the world.

Explore GIC sponsorship opportunities

Sign Up for Updates

You'll be the first one to know about new challenges as they're added.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most commonly asked questions

What is a GIC?

Global Impact Challenges (GICs) are annual incentive competitions held in partnership with sponsor organizations worldwide and organized by geography and theme. These challenges are an open call to entrepreneurs, technologists and scientists with the most innovative ideas for moonshot innovations and startups that can positively impact a billion people in 10 years. The winner of each challenge receives a full sponsorship to attend our transformational Global Solutions Program.

Who should apply to a GIC

You’re an ideal candidate if you:

  • Are an experienced entrepreneur who has already turned over at least one successful company, and are ready to do it again in the impact space 
  • Are a technical or problem space expert who is eager to build a company alongside a seasoned entrepreneur
  • Are an accomplished technologist, scientist, or change agent and are recognized as a thought leader in your chosen field(s)
  • Have a background in or a passion for addressing climate change
  • Have an innovative solution to an urgent global challenge—ideally, but not limited to, climate change—that leverages exponential technologies and can positively impact a billion people within 10 years 
  • Are prepared to commit to launching a startup around your innovation and remaining attached to that venture, wherever the journey may lead post-GSP, based on your GSP team project

Are you hosting a GIC in my country?

For information on open challenges, you can sign up to receive updates on new GICs as they’re announced

 

What is the GIC schedule?

The schedule varies from one challenge to another. For more information, please consult the individual challenge listings above.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Applicants:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must speak fluent English
  • Must be able to attend the entire Global Solutions Program (see GSP overview for program dates)

For specific eligibility requirements, see the individual challenge pages.

Do ideas have to be at a certain stage to be submitted?

No, ideas do not have to be at a certain stage to be submitted.

 

Who is the owner of the intellectual property resulting from a GIC?

Intellectual property resulting from a GIC belongs to the applicant(s).

What is the GIC review process?

The selection process has two to three phases, depending on the challenge. The first phase involves a review of all applications to determine 5-10 finalists, and the second phase involves final judging to select the winner—this is either done remotely via video call, or at a pitch event.

What is the selection criteria for the winner?

  • Degree of solution's relevance to the theme of the challenge
  • Feasibility, viability and coherence of implementing the idea
  • Entrepreneurial and innovative potential, with a focus on technological novelty
  • Applicant’s leadership experience, profile, potential, and achievements

Note: Selection criteria may vary from one challenge to another.

Is there an obligation for GIC winners to work on their winning project during the GSP?

No, there’s no such obligation from either SU or the GIC Sponsor. The GIC winner can elect to recruit fellow GSP classmates to work on the winning project or create an entirely new project during the summer.

Who comes to SU if a member of an existing team wins a GIC?

If the challenge winner is part of an existing team—the team is not eligible—only the individual who applied would come to SU.

Who pays for the travel expenses for the winner to come to SU?

GIC winners are responsible for their own travel expenses to/from SU.

Who is tasked with organizing a visa for a GIC winner?

GIC winners are responsible for obtaining any necessary visas required for their attendance at GSP. Most of our non-US passport holding participants have attended on a ESTA waiver program, tourist visa, or a B-1 or B-2 business visa. Despite having “University” in its name, SU is not an accredited, degree-granting institution and therefore does not sponsor student visas. SU will provide a letter clarifying that the winner is invited to attend GSP, which the winner may use in support of a visa application at his or her home country’s US Embassy or Consulate.

 

What happens if a visa is denied to a GIC winner?

In the rare case where a GIC winner is denied a visa, the winner forfeits his or her GSP seat to the GIC first runner-up and would have to then reapply for admission in a future year.

What happens if a GIC winner cannot attend GSP for any reason?

In all cases where a winner cannot attend GSP, the winner forfeits his or her GSP seat to the GIC first runner-up and would have to then reapply for admission in a future year. For more information, see the Global Solutions Program overview.